The different types of tourism on the French Riviera

Between the sea and the mountains, bathed in sunshine, the French Riviera attracts many tourists from all over the world every year. They come to admire the luxury of its villas, the beauty of its landscapes, or to meet its artists and participate in cultural festivals. The tourist activities are numerous and varied, and everyone can find his happiness: whether you are a nature lover, a jet-setter, a sports enthusiast, a sea bather, or an art lover, this region will satisfy you.

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Nature tourism

The nature of the PACA region is rich and varied, from the Alps to the Mediterranean Sea shining under the sun. Several destinations are available to you to take full advantage of all this beauty.
For a breath of fresh air and a breathtaking view, head to the Mercantour Park. Between the sea and the mountains, near the Italian border, it is a protected natural area with a very rich fauna and flora.

It has the richest biodiversity in France, with no less than 40 endemic species. With its 600 KMS of paths, it also offers magnificent walks. So put on your hiking shoes and your backpack, and go to discover it!

The coast is a garden paradise thanks to its exceptional climate. As early as the 19th century, all the big society wanted to build their luxury villa and their exceptional garden. From Nice to Menton, discover these botanical treasures with luxuriant plants from all over the world. Don’t miss the garden of the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, one of the most beautiful in France: in an exceptional setting, the pink villa dominates the sea, surrounded by plants from around the world. It is a dream of colors and smells. The subtropical climate of Menton allows for an abundance of flowers and magnificent gardens.

And of course there is the sea, and to get a change of scenery, go and visit the Lerens islands which are only 20 minutes from Cannes by boat, or the golden islands and their magnificent white sand beaches licked by turquoise water. Port Cros is classified as a national park and has preserved a very rich maritime and terrestrial environment; try diving to discover its multicolored fish.
Finally, the Estel massif and its red rocks plunging into the sea are a must-see destination in the region. It is a protected site classified Natura 2000, and offers many hiking and biking tours.

Luxury tourism

Of course, the French Riviera is synonymous with luxury, and the rich and famous of this world like to come and relax there for a few weeks in summer. Who hasn’t seen pictures of celebrities on the deck of their boats, or shopping in the streets of St Tropez? They sail on board of sublime yachts between Monaco and Cannes, or invest to the luxurious palaces of Cannes and Saint Jean Cap Ferrat. For those of them who wish to preserve their privacy, they rent through luxury real estate agencies sumptuous villas where they can be sheltered from the world. They usually find a high quality service in a magnificent setting.

The cities of Nice, Cannes and St Tropez are home to the most prestigious French and international fashion houses, and it is not uncommon for celebrities to come and find the perfect property.
Beautiful properties are highly sought after by this clientele, and through real estate agencies specializing in luxury, such as Haussmann Real Estate, prestigious properties are quickly acquired to accommodate friends and relations.

Some people prefer to party, and the region has no shortage of starred restaurants and ultra select nightclubs. There is also no shortage of casinos and spas. Buying a property such as a luxury apartment in Cannes or Nice can be a lucrative investment, especially if it is to be rented to the international jet-set, eager to enjoy the prestigious services that these cities have to offer.

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Cultural tourism

The Cannes International Film Festival is undoubtedly one of the most prestigious film events, and Cannes is the most famous city in the region for this very reason. All the movie stars who come to the Croisette attract movie lovers and the curious in droves, and the whole city comes alive for ten days. The festival takes place in May and triples the city’s population, so it’s best to plan ahead to attend.

Away from the crowds, the area is also home to many museums. St Paul de Vente is known for its contemporary art galleries and its pretty narrow streets with Provencal charm. A few kilometers away, the Maeght Foundation welcomes more than 100,000 visitors each year. It has one of the most important collections of contemporary art in Europe in a unique architectural complex in the heart of nature. Discover the Miró labyrinth, the mosaics of Chagalle and Tel Coat, or the basin and the stained-glass window of Braque.

The Côte d’Azur has been celebrated by many painters who have brilliantly transcribed its light and colors, and made it their open-air studio. Some of them now have their own museum, like Picasso in Antibes, Bonnard in Le Cannet and Cocteau in Menton. Take a tour, and you will feel the special atmosphere of these great artists by discovering their work in the very place where they created it.
Grasse is the city of perfumes and is the world capital. The Fragonard Perfumery, the Molinard Perfumery and the Galimard Factory and Museum welcome you and offer free visits. You will be able to follow the manufacturing process and leave with your own bottle!

Business tourism

With a large logistics offer, the Côte d’Azur is a choice destination for business tourism. There are eight convention centers located in the most famous cities along the coast: Nice, Cannes, Grasse, Antibes, Menton, Juan les Pins and Mandelieu. This is a great way to combine work and pleasure, because going to enjoy the sun on the beach after a long day, or having an apéritif on the terrace with your colleagues is an important asset.

The organization of congresses and seminars, as well as cultural festivals such as the Cannes International Film Festival, the Jazz Festival in Antibes, the Formula 1 Grand Prix in Monaco, have all made the region’s reputation.

It is a destination that combines luxury and prestige, where the hotel offer is rich of more than 30 000 rooms and fully equipped rooms for seminars. The superior hotel industry is ranked second in France for three to five-star establishments.

The region benefits from a strategic position in the Mediterranean basin, and is the second most important destination for business tourism after Paris.

Sports tourism

With the mountains, the sea and the countryside, the Côte d’Azur is ideal for sports.
In winter, head for the Mercantour massif or the lower Alps. With 600 km of slopes, you have plenty to do! Valberg for example is a charming village resort, perfect for a family stay. Isola 2000 is only one hour from Nice and is famous for its quality ski area and snowy slopes.

Sailing also has its enthusiasts. The Régates Royales de Cannes sees the most beautiful old sailing ships in the world compete in the magnificent bay of Cannes. They take place the last week of September and are an unforgettable spectacle!
Paddle in the creeks or diving in the transparent waters are also essential activities.

For speed freaks, the Monaco Formula 1 Grand Prix is an event not to be missed.
The Paris/Nice bicycle race, the Nice-Cannes marathon or the Iron Man with its final race on the Croisette are for experienced athletes and are followed by an enthusiastic public.

New facilities have been created in recent years: the Mouratoglou Tennis Academy in Sophia Antipolis, the Pôle sports montagne in Saint-Martin-Vésubie and the longest zip line in France (2,663 meters) at La Colmiane.

And of course, let’s not forget the golf course and its greens that stretch along the sea!
As you can see, sportsmen of all kinds can find their happiness!

Seaside tourism

Beaches and seaside resorts are the postcard of the region: emblematic beaches such as Pampelone in St Tropez, small intimate coves, villages with Provencal charm, this is what attracts thousands of tourists every year.
Nice is known for its Promenade des Anglais and its luxurious hotels, but also for its colorful alleys with a Mediterranean charm. Don’t miss the market on the Cours Saleya to be intoxicated by the smells and colors.

Cannes and its Croisette are synonymous with prestige, with palaces such as the Carlton and the Martinez, its casinos and its spas. Its old port and the heart of the old town, perched on its hill, are not lacking in charm and are well worth a visit.

Menton is at the gateway to Italy, between the sea and the mountains, it unfolds its colorful houses and lush gardens. It is known in particular for its lemon festival, which takes place in February, which sees a float decorated with citrus fruits whose acidulous colors clatter in the blue sky.

If you are looking for small coves with turquoise waters, head without hesitation to Théoule-sur-Mer. Located in the Esterel massif, the red rocks that plunge into the sea give way to beautiful white sand beaches. And don’t miss the magnificent view of Antibes, Cannes and the Lerins Islands from the Pointe de l’Aiguille.

If you prefer an island, Porquerolles is only a few minutes by boat from Hyères, is a small paradise renowned for its beaches, its small Provencal village, its port and also for the recent Carmignac Foundation and its contemporary art collection.

The coast still has many seaside resorts, and all have their own charm. The sun and the blue of the Mediterranean are everywhere!

With so many assets, the Côte d’Azur is an unmissable tourist destination. The region is constantly seeking to expand its range of offers, particularly in the field of sports, to reach new customers. Whether it is in the field of luxury or in hospitality, professionals go out of their way to welcome and meet the needs of their customers. So don’t wait, go and spend your vacations there!